On 18 February 2018, a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery was performed at Kasturba Hospital. This was the first major open-heart surgery performed in the annals of Sevagram.
GN, a 71-year-old retired clerk from the local town had presented with a chest pain to our hospital in December 2017. An electrocardiogram showed that he’d had a massive heart attack. On the Cath Lab table, the cardiologist found a blockage in the left main artery to his heart—a “widow-maker,” doctors call it—and thought that the best option to open the artery was CABG surgery. Although the patient took a pile of drugs after the heart attack, he was hardly able to walk more than a few meters. Troubled by angina and breathlessness, he could hardly move out of his home. GN required CABG to open his occluded artery.
Dr Saurabh Varshney (cardiac surgeon) and Dr Ritesh Borkar (cardiac anesthesist), both from Nagpur, led their team to operate GN in the cardiac OR of Kasturba Hospital, MGIMS, Sevagram. Dr Varshney opted for a minimally invasive approach that does not use cardiopulmonary bypass and performed the operation through a smaller incision for bypassing the occluded artery. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians, biomedical engineers, pharmacists, and orderlies- everyone kept on ticking the checklist even before the patient was wheeled into the operation theatre. He took just a little over half an hour to complete the surgery. Jubilant and visibly contented, Dr. Varshney listed several advantages of the procedure he chose: reduced operative time, fast recovery, decreased need for blood transfusion, less time under anesthesia, decreased length of ICU stay, less pain, and an estimated 40% savings over conventional CABG operation.
“Coming back to Sevagram evokes my childhood memories; I consider it a privilege, and honour to be asked to perform the first cardiac operation at the very place where I grew up”, said Dr. Varshney. “GN would need five days in the hospital and a few weeks at home to recover. He would get his strength back and should be able to resume work, hang out with his grandchildren, and live his life”, he added.
“We are extremely elated to have our first cardiac surgery done at our hospital. With this service, we shall now be able to deliver cardiac health to our patients at very subsidized cost”, said Shri Dhirubhai Mehta, President Kasturba Health Society.
"Kasturba Hospital witnesses around 1500 cardiac patients every year, out of which around 500 patients need such intensive surgery", informed Dr SP Kalantri, Medical Superintendent, Kasturba Hospital. " We are happy that now we shall be able to commit affordable health to such patients", he added.